Friday, May 16, 2008
Colts' Manning withholding judgment over Harrison's off-field issue
ESPN.com news services
Wide receiver Marvin Harrison reported for the Indianapolis Colts' mandatory three-day minicamp that opened Friday but did not practice with the team.
The Colts remained mum on Harrison's off-field status. He has been questioned by Philadelphia police about an April 29 shooting in his hometown. According to reports, a 32-year-old man was shot in the hand and a 2-year-old boy sustained a cut when a car windshield was shattered by a stray bullet.
Six of the bullet casings found after the April 29 shooting near a car wash owned by Harrison came from a gun he owns, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reported recently. The investigation is ongoing and police said Harrison has cooperated and is not a suspect at this time.
Quarterback Peyton Manning is withholding judgment on Harrison and his legal issues. Manning didn't make much of Harrison's off-field news when it first was reported, and he hasn't spoken with Harrison about the incident.
"I didn't have a whole lot of reaction to it because I hadn't talked to anybody personally about it," Manning said. "I've been around long enough that until I hear from somebody that really knows what's going on, I don't give it a lot of merit."
Harrison has told the Colts he was not involved in the shooting, according to The Indianapolis Star.
"With respect to questions regarding Marvin Harrison being interviewed by police in Philadelphia, we have nothing to add to [team president] Bill Polian's statement issued two weeks ago," the Colts said in a statement Friday. "We don't anticipate addressing any such questions unless and until there is an official report of the facts from the Philadelphia Police Department."
On May 2, Polian issued a statement that read, "We have no credible information at this time, and we will not comment until we do."
Dungy said Friday at a post-practice news conference that he had yet to speak to Harrison at camp.
Regarding Harrison's off-field issues, Dungy said: "We'll see how that plays out and when all the facts come out we'll address them."
Manning is more concerned about Harrison's bad knees, which caused his top receiver to miss most of last season. Harrison eventually had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in January and has been rehabilitating an inflamed capsule in his left knee.
Like Harrison, most of the Colts' veterans who are recovering from medical issues will not participate in the minicamp.
Harrison, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, injured his left knee in a Sept. 30 game against Denver when he was hit from behind while blocking downfield on a running play. He did not play in the final 10 games of the regular season but had two catches in the Colts' playoff game, a 28-24 loss at home to the San Diego Chargers.
Before this season, the 12-year veteran had missed only six games total in his career, never more than four in a season.
Manning believes the 35-year-old wideout will recover and return to being dominant. Harrison has caught 1,042 career passes for 13,944 yards and 123 touchdowns in 12 years, mostly from Manning.
"I don't think there's any question he can still do it," Manning said. "Obviously, that's our hope -- that he'll be 100 percent healthy to be able to play against Chicago in the season opener. That is what we expect. Marvin has told us he will be 100 percent and ready to go. That's what we need for our team to be as good as it can be in 2008."
Dungy was told Thursday night that Harrison's recovery is on schedule. Harrison joined the team for the start of minicamp Friday, but he, defensive end Dwight Freeney and safety Bob Sanders won't be on the field during the camp.
Freeney had surgery after a season-ending left foot injury in November. Sanders, the league's reigning defensive player of the year, had shoulder surgery for the second straight year.
Dungy said all three are recovering well.
The Colts have some uncertainty at running back after backup Kenton Keith was arrested last month. Police said he refused to leave the parking lot of a nightclub. He was charged with criminal trespassing and has pleaded not guilty.
Perhaps as insurance, the Colts re-signed running back Dominic Rhodes this month, adding him to a stable that includes Joseph Addai and rookie Mike Hart.
Rhodes played a key role when the Colts won the Super Bowl two seasons ago, but didn't get in the rotation much last season in Oakland after he was suspended the first four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
"It was frustrating," he said. "I put myself in that situation by getting in trouble and missing those four games. I gave another guy an opportunity. When you do that in this league, somebody takes advantage, usually."
Manning is glad Rhodes is back.
"I think it gives us a real boost," Manning said. "It gives us a veteran player there that is familiar with this system. It'll take him a little time to catch up on any changes that we've made. Dominic played great for us when he was here. He ran great against us in Oakland, so you feel that he's still got it."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Marvin has told us he will be 100 percent and ready to go. That's what we need for our team to be as good as it can be in 2008.
--Peyton Manning, on Marvin Harrison